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Poems  and  Rhymes 

S)-on-xythM  ^iKcckUri^  pkctoyrxi^^hef' 

l/TTLAf-y  '' 

^e^liy  3)uLj 

Poems  and  Rhymes 


Jeffery  Day 

Flight-Commander,  R.N.A.S. 


London :    Sidgwick  &  Jackson,  Ltd. 
3  Adam  Street,  Adelphi,  W.C.2  191 9 

First  published  in  1919 
All  rights  reserved 




•       7 


AN   airman's   dream 

.     29 

TO   MY   BROTHER            .... 

.     33 


•     37 


.     38 

NORTH   SEA           

.     41 


.     43 



•     47 

BAD   WEATHER  ..... 

.     50 

DAWN          .            ... 

.     51 

COMING   DOWN    ..... 

.     53 


.     55 


.     59 


.     63 



"  Here  is  a  young  writer,"  a  reader  of  these  verses 
may  guess,  "  untrammelled  by  literary  traditions. 
He  does  not  write  as  a  literary  man  would  write, 
but  he  writes  musically  and  he  knows  the  differ- 
ence between  prose  and  verse.  Probably  he  is  a 
young  airman  newly  led  to  poetry  by  the  wonders 
of  flight." 

The  guess  would  be  right.  These  were  the 
writer's  first  and  last  verses.  The  growth  of 
power  shown  by  the  short  series  suggests  to  us 
that,  had  he  lived,  his  name  might  have  been  added 
to  the  golden  roll  of  poets  ;  but  it  is  written 
clearly  on  the  golden  roll  of  warriors  only,  and  for 
the  rest  he  must  be  numbered  amongst  "  the 
inheritors  of  unfulfilled  renown." 

Miles  Jeffery  Game  Day  was  a  Fhght-Com- 
mander  in  the  naval  air  service,  and  one  of  its 
most  brilliant  young  officers.  He  was  born  at 
St.  Ives,  Hunts,  on  December  ist,  1896,  of  a 
family  settled  for  generations  on  the  banks  of  the 
Ouse.  He  was  at  school  at  Sandroyd  House 
and  at  Repton  ;  and  at  eighteen  years  of  age 
he  received  his  commission  as  sub-lieutenant. 
From  the  first  he  showed  exceptional  skill  as 
a  pilot,  and  was  chosen  for  work  at  sea  that 
needed  high  technical  accomplishment.  But 
he   was   dissatisfied    with   the   comparative    in- 


activity  of  the  life  afloat,  and  secured  his  transfer 
to  a  fighting  squadron  on  the  Western  front. 
Already  famous  in  his  service  as  a  master  of  the 
art  of  flight,  in  France  he  became  famous  as  a 
fighter  also,  and  received  the  distinguished 
service  cross  "  for  great  skill  and  bravery  as  a 
fighting  pilot.'  " 

But  when  that  announcement  was  gazetted 
the  end  had  already  come  in  a  characteristic  act 
of  audacity  and  self-sacrifice.  On  February  27th, 
1918,  to  quote  his  commanding  officer's  account, 

"  he  was  shot  down  by  six  German  aircraft 
which  he  attacked  single-handed,  out  to  sea.  He 
had  out-distanced  his  flight,  I  think  because  he 
wished  to  break  the  [enemy's]  formation,  in  order 
to  make  it  easier  for  the  less  experienced  people 
behind  him  to  attack.  He  hit  the  enemy  and 
they  hit  his  machine,  which  burst  into  flames ; 
but,  not  a  bit  flurried,  he  nose-dived,  flattened  out, 
and  landed  perfectly  on  the  water.  He  climbed 
out  of  his  machine  and  waved  his  fellow-pilots 
back  to  their  base  ;  being  in  aeroplanes  [not  sea- 
planes] they  could  not  assist  him." 

Immediate  and  prolonged  search  was  made  for 
him,  but  in  vain. 

Such  is  the  short  record  of  his  life,  a  record  that 
can   do   no   more  than   suggest   the   personahty 


behind.  The  picture  of  that,  a  gracious  and  a 
glorious  thing,  can  best  be  filled  in  by  the  words 
of  one  that  knew  him  well  both  in  his  service  and 
in  his  writing. 

"  It  was  at  Harwich  late  in  1916  that  I  first 
met  Jeff  Day.  I  was  sitting  with  E.  C.  in  the 
gathering  place  of  naval  officers,  the  hall  of  an 
hotel,  and  we  were  I  remember  in  a  critical  and 
discontented  humour  about  England  and  the  war. 
Enghsh  people,  we  were  saying,  have  too  low  a 
standard  of  industry  and  devotion  :  they  make 
too  much  of  their  amusements  and  their  leisure  ; 
for  all  their  courage  they  lack  the  spirit  of  aggres- 
sion. '  It  comes  to  this '  I  said,  '  there  are  too 
many  of  us  that  are  not  "  all  out."  '  We  agreed 
in  that ;  and  then  C.  called  my  attention  to  a 
young  sub-heutenant  of  the  R.N.A.S,  who  was 
waiting  for  his  tea  at  the  far  end  of  the  room,  a 
lad  of  small  stature  with  a  bright,  strong  face. 
'  There  is  a  lad  that  would  cheer  you  up  '  he  said  ; 
and  when  I  asked  why,  '  talk  of  "  all  out  !  "  '  he 
answered,  ''  he  is  pure  gold.'  He  called  the  sub- 
lieutenant over  to  share  our  tea  and  we  spoke  of 
their  common  adventures  in  the  North  Sea,  of 
the  war  in  the  air,  and  of  how  dull  it  was  at 

"  My  first  thought  as  he  joined  us  was  '  what  a 
£ne  head  !     it  is  hke  that  of  some  Florentine 


knight  modelled  by  Donatello,  who  made  the 
St.  George.'  When  he  began  to  speak  I  felt  at 
once  (hke  all  that  met  him)  the  attraction  of  his 
manner,  so  gentle  yet  so  absorbed  and  so  full  of 
restrained  vitality,  of  his  velvet  voice,  and  of  his 
eager  talk.  '  Here  '  I  said  to  myself,  '  is  a  boy 
with  a  beautiful  manner.  He  is  very  much  alive 
too,  and  interested  in  what  he  says.  The  things 
that  he  says  come  fresh  from  his  thoughts,  they 
are  not  said  parrot-wise.  It  would  be  pleasant 
to  meet  him  again,'  and  I  schemed  to  do  so. 
We  were  talking  about  teas,  and  he  told  us  of  a 
farm  that  he  had  found  in  a  wood  beyond  the 
river  where  there  was  still  a  good  tea  to  be  had,  as 
good  as  before  the  war.  "  It  really  is  a  perfectly 
good  tea  '  he  said,  and  made  us  feel  as  happy  as 
possible  because  he  himself  was  so  happy  in  the 
thought  of  the  tea.  I  got  a  promise  from  him 
on  the  spot  that  he  would  guide  me  to  his  farm 
on  the  next  Sunday. 

"  C.  had  spoken  to  him  as  '  Babe '  only,  and  it 
was  not  until  he  left  that  I  learnt  his  proper  name. 
I  remembered  then  that  I  had  heard  in  my  ship 
some  gossip  about  one  Day.  I  had  heard  him 
spoken  of  as  a  young  pilot  in  a  seaplane  carrier 
who  could  do  things  with  an  aeroplane  that  nobody 
else  could  do.  The  Flag-Commander  had  been  to 
see  him  fly  and  they  had  made  his  hair  stand  on 
end,  he  had  said,  the  things  that  he  had  seen,  the 


loops  and  spins.  It  was  an  arresting  thing  that 
the  airman  of  whom  I  had  heard  as  a  wonder  of 
skill  and  daring  and  the  boy  who  was  so  keen  about 
his  tea  should  be  one  and  the  same. 

"  The  next  Sunday  we  met  on  the  jetty  and 
walked  out  to  his  farm  beyond  the  river.  He 
had  first  noticed  the  farm  as  he  flew  over  it,  and 
he  and  his  shipmates  had  hunted  it  out  and  made 
it  their  meeting-place.  The  motherly  heart 
of  the  woman  of  the  place  was  quite  enslaved  by 
him  ;  she  greeted  him  then  and  always  with  great 
fuss  and  outcries.  Here  was  Mr.  Day ;  she 
knew  the  tea  that  he  liked  ;  fresh  eggs,  how 
many  ?  (three)  ;  hot  scones  and  butter,  and  her 
own  jam.  Mr.  Day  was  the  gentleman  that  did 
funny  things  to  amuse  her  when  he  flew  overhead. 
She  wished  that  he  wouldn't,  it  made  her  heart 
jump.  Her  tongue  ran  on  and  on  about  her  Mr. 
Day,  and  the  tea  when  it  came  had  a  plenty  and 
a  freshness  that  were  a  tribute  of  true  affection. 
When  we  had  finished  it  we  went  and  looked  at 
the  young  things  on  the  farm,  the  chickens, 
duckUngs,  and  colts.  They  gave  him  keen  dehght ; 
he  was  of  their  company  and  knew  their  ways  in 
play.  His  first  favourite,  though,  was  an  old 
gander,  that  would  put  its  head  down  and  charge 
him  the  length  of  the  field.  It  was  a  stout- 
hearted old  bird,  he  said,  and  whenever  he  came 
to  the  farm  he  got  up  a  row  with  it, 


"  As  we  walked  out  along  the  shores  of  the 
tidal  river  that  afternoon  and  he  talked  to  me  about 
the  air  I  began  to  feel  hke  one  on  the  verge  of  a 
surprising  and  fortunate  discovery.     '  Here '  I  was 
thinking,  '  is  something  much  more  than  a  lad 
with  a  charming  manner.     C.  was  right ;   here  is 
a  warrior  spirit   keen  and  strong  as  a  sword.' 
And    as  we  returned   in  the    evening  and   the 
restraint  of  strangeness  grew  less  I  felt  that  the 
discovery  had  been  made.     '  Here  '  I  told  myself 
then,  '  is  something  more  even  than  a  high  warrior 
spirit  ;   here  is  one  that  embraces  with  impetuous 
yet   delicate    sympathy  all    vital   and   beautiful 
things.     Vitahty  runs  out  of  him  in  a  bubbhng 
stream.     He  has  more  enjoyment  of  all  things 
worth  enjoying  and  he  is  better  able  to  express  his 
enjoyinent  than  anybody  I  ever  knew.     Nor  is 
his  enjo3mient  mere  animal  good  spirits.     It  has 
a  deeper  root  in  a  quick  humour  for  the  comic 
element  in  hfe  and  in  keen  appreciation  of  all 
lovely  and  hearty  things,  whether  of  the  natural 
world  or  of  the  mind.     When  he  speaks  of  some 
wonderful  flight  through  clouds  and  sunshine  I 
can  feel  the  air  rushing  past  me  and  revel  v.dth 
him  in  the  miracles  of  hght  and  colour  that  he 
has  seen.     But  there  is  a  better  thing  still.     It  is 
not  about  his  own  marvellous  service  that  he 
likes  best  to  talk  :  he  is  happiest  when  he  is  talking 
about  country  places  and  especially  about  his  own 


country-side  of  river,  fen,  and  mere.  He  loves 
them  truly  and  he  has  with  them  an  intimate 
companionship.  With  his  love  and  intimacy  he 
can  paint  in  his  talk  pictures  of  them  so  bright 
and  actual  that  I  can  hardly  believe  that  I  have 
not  been  with  him  for  long  night  hours  in  his 
boat  upon  the  river  or  lying  at  dusk  among  the 
reeds  to  wait  for  the  homing  waterfowl.  He 
talks  of  them  like  a  poet,  I  thought,  a  poet  that 
has  walked  hand  in  hand  with  nature. 

"  When  we  separated  to  go  each  to  his  ship  I 
found  myself  still  thinking  about  him  with  delight 
and  wonder.  Can  it  really  be — my  thoughts  ran 
thus — that  here  is  one  of  those  natures  which 
we  may  dream  about  but  can  hardly  hope  to  find, 
a  nature  made  after  the  manner  of  Philip  Sidney, 
poet  and  knight  in  one  ?  I  have  known  in  the  war 
other  men  of  transcendent  courage  and  devotion, 
but  they  had  not  the  poet's  power  of  under- 
standing the  great  value  and  beauty  of  Hfe.  I 
have  known  other  men  with  the  poet's  power,  but 
they  had  not  the  high  quahties  of  courage  and 
devotion  that  would  have  made  themselves  as 
beautiful  as  their  poems.  I  have  never  known 
before  one  that  combined  those  two  things,  but 
I  believe  that  I  know  one  now.  And  then  I 
thought  of  Jeff's  effervescent  gaiety  and  of  his 
simple  and  youthful  distrust  of  solemn  and 
difficult  things.     How  astonished  he  would  be  at 


these  reflections  !  But  in  spite  of  that  I  was 
sure  that  I  was  right  about  the  discovery,  and 
thereafter  the  better  I  knew  him  the  more  sure  I 

"  Since  his  ship  lay  far  from  mine  and  the  farm 
was  remote  we  could  not  meet  very  often,  so  we 
started  a  lively  correspondence  that  went  back- 
wards and  forwards  in  the  duty  boat.  With  one 
of  his  letters  he  sent  me  a  pamphlet  of  Christmas 
jokes  that  he  had  written  to  amuse  his  ward-room. 
Some  of  the  short  rhymes  in  it  seemed  to  me  very 
well  done.  I  remember  in  particular  one  that  he 
had  written  about  himself  : 

'  Chatter,  chatter,  little  Day  ! 
What  a  lot  you've  got  to  say — 
Umpty-thousand  words  a  minute 
Even  your  Maxim  isn't  in  it  !  ' 

The  turning  of  them  suggested  that  he  had  a 
natural  faculty  for  rhyming,  and  when  next  we 
met  he  confessed  that  he  did  sometimes  write 
verses,  '  lots  of  them,  like  Gilbert.'  But  these 
diversions,  he  maintained,  were  not  to  be  taken 
seriously.  It  was  to  be  understood  that  he  had 
the  misfortune  to  be  a  creature  of  moods.  He 
wrote  verses  hard  for  a  bit  and  then  drew  hard  for 
a  bit  and  then  did  nothing  at  all  for  a  bit  but  sit 
still.  He  had  to  do  things  straight  off  and  at  full 
speed  or  not  at  all. 



About  those  moods  of  his  he  was  quite  right. 
Things  rushed  up  out  of  his  mind  with  an  irresistible 
impulse  and  then  stopped  until  something  else 
began  to  rush.  Even  in  conversation  the  spark- 
ling stream  would  sometimes  stop  quite  dead 
and  he  would  drift  away  into  rapt  and  inward 
contemplation  of  things  that  one  was  not  told 
about.  It  was  always  so  if  the  conversation,  as 
conversations  will  in  a  mess,  became  dull  or  coarse. 
I  think  that  then  without  any  conscious  effort  he 
stopped  hearing  it  and  began  to  attend  inwardly 
to  some  jolly  thing,  some  good  joke,  some  adven- 
ture of  the  air,  some  memory  of  his  river.  He 
would  sit  by,  leaning  forward  with  an  intent  look, 
and  give  a  httle  laugh  now  and  then  as  if  he  were 
hstening  to  what  was  being  said.  But  in  fact 
he  was  Hstening  only  to  his  own  joUier  thoughts, 
and  suddenly  he  would  tumble  back  into  the 
conversation  with  some  perfectly  inapposite 
remark  which  came  as  a  rebuke  to  the  groundlings, 
effectual,  though  quite  unintended. 

"  In  spite  of  his  diffidence  the  poetry  that 
gleamed  at  times  in  his  talk  and  in  his  letters  about 
the  air  and  the  country  made  it  clear  that  it  was 
weU  worth  while  that  he  should  take  his  verse- 
writing  more  seriously  than  he  was  yet  incUned : 
so  I  urged  him  to  write  something  about  the  air, 
not  like  Gilbert,  but  less  burlesque.  His  answer 
was  the  poem  "  On  the  wings  of  the  morning." 


A  month  or  two  later  came  his  second  poem  "  An 
airman's  dream."  This  was  all  his  own  idea. 
It  was  written  off  at  great  speed,  he  enjoyed 
writing  it  tremendously,  and  always  spoke  of  it 
with  the  most  engaging  admiration.  Probably  he 
would  not  have  written  it  quite  as  he  did  but  for 
Rupert  Brooke's  "  Grantchester,"  which  he 
greatly  admired ;  but  his  poem  has  a  freshness 
and  vitahty  which  "  Grantchester  "  in  its  rather 
elaborate  technical  accomphshment  seems  to  lack. 
His  third  and  last  considerable  poem,  the  lines 
"  To  my  brother,"  were  wTitten  later  in  France. 
There  is  a  touch  of  deeper  feeling  in  them  that 
shows  an  increase  of  power.  I  know  that  these 
three  poems  have  given  pleasure  to  many  people, 
but  I  am  unable  to  form  any  critical  estimate  of 
them  myself.  They  speak  so  clearly  and  directly 
with  his  voice  that  a  friend  of  his  could  no  more 
anaylse  his  affection  for  the  verses  than  he  could 
analyse  his  affection  for  their  writer. 

"  His  skill  and  daring  were  now  a  legend  in  our 
force.  WTien  strangers  talked  of  great  airmen 
elsewhere  we  said  '  but  you  should  see  Day  in 
V index.'  This  high  reputation  of  his  had  the 
best  of  foimdations  in  the  generous  and  open 
admiration  of  his  own  service.  One  day  he  came 
out  to  the  farm  with  his  inamediate  superior, 
Fhght-Commander  K.  Jeff  was  particularly 
riotous  that  day  and  as  he  skirmished  about  the 


wood  K.  sat  with  me  in  the  sun  and  told  about 
Jeff's  fl\ing.  Jeff  was  the  finest  pilot  he  had  ever 
known.  "  A  light  scout  machine,  hke  a  horse, 
needs  the  right  sort  of  hands,  and  he  has  the 
best  hands  in  the  world.  A  great  test — he  can  do 
things  at  slow  speed  that  other  people  venture 
on  with  a  rush  only ;  and  of  course '  said  K., 
echoing  C,  'he  is  absolutely  "  all  out."  '  That 
was  the  quahty  in  him  that  seemed  always  to 
strike  others  of  his  service  as  pre-eminent,  that 
there  was  no  reserve  in  his  devotion.  Others, 
even  the  best  of  officers,  might  sometimes  slacken 
the  bow,  might  shrink  if  ever  so  httle  from  the 
great  and  incessant  dangers  of  their  service,  might 
allow  some  distraction  to  mitigate  a  httle  their 
spirit  of  aggression.  He  never  flagged  or  faltered, 
was  never  set  on  his  duty  and  more  than  his  duty 
with  an  intensity  of  purpose  that  was  less  than 
absolute.  To  be  so,  I  think,  cost  him  no  con- 
scious effort.  Complete  devotion  was  his  by 
nature,  with  all  the  vigour  and  daring  that  for  an 
airman  it  imphes.  To  the  serious  and  ardent 
spirit  that  lay  beneath  his  gaiety,  revealed  to  us 
by  his  verses  only  and  by  flashes  in  his  talk,  self- 
interest  and  self-consideration  were  imkno\\-n. 
Half-hearted  ways  and  people  he  did  not  actively 
condemn  :  they  did  not  exist  for  him.  He  might 
perhaps  say  of  some  example  of  shirking  that  it 
was  '  perfectly  bad  '  ;   but  about  such  dead-ahve 

B  17 

things  he  did  not  trouble  his  head.  All  unknown 
to  him  this  single-mindedness  of  his  made  him  a 
great  source  of  strength  in  others..  Bound  to 
him  by  his  lovableness,  people  shrank  from  any 
failure  in  his  presence  lest  they  should  trouble 
the  serenity  of  his  devotion.  It  would  have  been 
dreadful  for  one  of  his  friends  to  have  failed  in 
duty  under  his  eye.  Jeff  would  have  smiled  at 
him  in  a  puzzled  way,  suspecting  a  joke,  would 
have  been  sadly  bothered  about  him  for  a  httle, 
and  would  then  have  stopped  thinking  about  him 
altogether,  turning  his  thoughts  to  jolHer  things  : 
and  nobody  that  knew  him  could  be  indifferent 
to  such  an  exclusion. 

"  His  hfe  at  Harwich  seemed  to  him  too  inactive, 
and  he  grew  very  discontented  with  it.  He  knew — 
he  could  not  help  knowing — that  he  was  in  the 
front  rank  as  a  pilot  and  he  longed  greatly  for 
more  active  service.  It  could  not  have  been 
otherwise.  To  a  nature  so  ardent  and  resolute 
frustration  in  the  activity  in  which  it  feels  itself 
most  ahve  is  the  worst  evil  that  can  befall.  So 
it  was  no  surprise  when  on  return  from  leave  in 
the  autumn  of  1917  I  learnt  that  he  had  succeeded 
in  getting  himself  transferred  to  a  light  cruiser, 
the  Cassandra,  where  there  was  promise  of  more 

to  do. 

"  He  enjoyed  being  with  the  '  proper  Navy  ' ; 
but  it  turned  out  that  in  his  new  work  he  had  no 


better  opportunities  than  before  and  he  was 
pleased  when  an  accident  to  his  ship  sent  him  to 
the  experimental  air-station  at  Grain. 

"  I  saw  him  at  Grain  on  my  way  back  to  Flanders 
(whither  I  had  been  transferred)  from  leave  in 
October  1917.  When  I  arrived  at  the  flying 
ground  he  was  away  in  the  air  and  I  waited  for 
him  at  his  shed.  There  was  a  senior  warrant- 
officer  in  charge  there  and  it  was  amusing  to  learn 
from  his  talk  how  quickly  a  legend  had  grown  up 
around  Jeff  at  Grain  and  how  firmly  his  sway 
had  become  established.  There  was  a  fine  flyer  ! 
the  finest  ever  seen  at  Grain.  To  see  him  bank 
vertically  in  his  scout ! — and  the  other  gentle- 
men had  said  it  was  impossible.  Here  he  came 
now ;  you  could  always  tell  him  by  the  way 
he  flew. 

"  The  tiny  machine  floated  down  and  I  too 
like  the  old  warrant-officer,  although  I  knew  it 
was  only  our  affection  for  the  pilot  that  made  us 
think  so,  had  an  illusion  that  there  was  something 
characteristically  lively,  light,  and  swift  about 
its  motion.  As  he  brought  the  machine  to  earth 
a  puff  of  wind  caught  it,  and  he  had  to  turn  up 
again  and,  flying  to  one  side,  to  land  with  some- 
thing of  a  bump.  The  warrant-officer  looked 
aside  and  growled  '  you  wouldn't  often  see  him 
land  Hke  that.'  He  could  not  bear  that  his  idol 
should  not  be  seen  to  the  best  advantage. 


"  Perhaps  it  was  the  red  and  brown  given  to 
Jeff  by  the  great  winds  in  which  he  lived  and  the 
sparks  that  shone  in  his  eyes,  but  his  face  always 
seemed   to   have   something   smouldering   in   it, 
a  suggestion  of  internal  fires  that  were  ever  on 
the  point  of  breaking  through  in  visible  flames. 
On  that  day  his  look  and  talk  were  even  more 
brilliantly  ahve  than  usual.     The  fresh  interest  of 
the  difficult   work  that  he  was  doing   (making 
expermients  with  machines  of  novel  types)  had 
carried  him  up  and  away  into  complete  absorption 
in  the  air.     His  thoughts  and  purposes  inhabited 
a  remote  and  high  region  whither  a  groundling 
could  hardly  follow  them  ;    and  then  with  one 
of  his  swift  changes  he  returned  to  earth  to  talk 
of  days  that  he  had  been  spending  at  home  on 
leave,  of  the  river  and  the  reeds,  and  of  what  he 
had  seen  at  dawn  and  dusk  on  the  great  level  of  the 
fens.     Now  that  he  had  begun  to  realise  in  poetry 
his  love  for  the  beauty  of  the  world  he  spoke  of 
these  things  with  all  a  poet's  confidence.    They 
were  the  things  worth  caring  about  and  people 
who  did  not  care  about  them  were  not  for  him. 
He  spoke  of  people  who  '  understood  '  and  people 
who    did   not    understand,    meaning   an   under- 
standing of  the  loveliness  of  the  face  of  nature, 
and  less  clearly  and  articulately  perhaps,  but  not 
unconsciously,  of  the  worth  of  everything  in  life 
that  is  '  lovely  and  of  good  report.' 


"  It  was  certain  that  he  would  never  rest 
content  with  any  service  but  the  highest.  Difficult 
as  the  work  was  at  Grain  he  was  still  longing  for 
direct  action  with  the  enemy.  By  urgent  requests 
and  by  some  audacity  in  acting  upon  a  qualified 
assent  as  if  it  were  unquahfied,  he  managed  to 
secure  his  transfer  to  a  fighting  squadron  on  the 
western  front.  My  battery  was  not  far  away. 
In  December  I  heard  from  him  that  he  was  coming, 
and  soon  afterwards  that  he  had  arrived. 

"  I  found  him  next  day  in  a  company  of  famous 
pilots  and  observers.  It  was  too  soon  after  his 
arrival  for  his  quality  to  have  become  known 
to  them  :  there  had  not  yet  been  time  for  the 
legend  to  grow.  '  But  that  will  not  take  long  ' 
I  thought,  and  truly  it  did  not.  A  series  of 
briUiant  fights  and  victories  soon  re-established 
his  fame,  and  when  I  visited  him  again  a  week 
later  he  was  back  in  the  middle  of  the  stage,  the 
unconscious  pattern  of  his  company.  Talking 
with  other  airmen  there  and  round  about  I  found 
that  to  speak  of  him  was  ever  to  bind  a  common 
bond.  One  heard  always  the  same  thing,  '  a 
great  pilot  and  absolutely  "  all  out  "  ' ;  and  as 
if  they  found  the  thought  of  him  a  happy  and  a 
heartening  thing  and  were  glad  to  have  the 
chance  of  paying  in  generous  praise  something 
of  their  debt  to  him  for  the  cheerfulness  and 
inspiration  that  he  brought  into  their  lives,  they 


would  turn  the  conversation  back  to  him  again 
and  again. 

"  On  Christmas  Day  he  came  up  and  had 
dinner  with  us  in  our  dugout.  We  crawled 
about  the  top  of  the  dunes  to  look  at  the  trenches 
of  the  Germans,  and  when  they  began  to  shell 
us  he  professed  to  find  it  very  exciting.  I  said 
that  one  could  not  be  expected  to  believe  that  he 
found  anything  exciting  after  his  experiences  in 
the  air  ;  but  he  answered  that  he  never  now  had 
any  real  excitement  in  the  air  at  all.  At  moments 
of  difficulty  and  danger,  he  explained  as  if  it  were 
a  matter  of  course,  he  found  himself  thinking 
harder  and  quicker  than  at  other  times,  but  that 
was  the  only  difference.  '  It  does  seem  a  matter 
of  course '  I  said  to  myself,  '  that  Jeff  should  be 
above  fear,  because  it  is  a  matter  of  course  that 
he  should  be  Jeff ;  but  it  is  equally  a  matter  of 
course  that  other  people  should  be  different.* 
I  asked  him  then  a  question  which  before  I  had 
always  been  ashamed  to  ask,  did  he  never  give  a 
thought  to  the  dangers  of  his  service  ?  He  sup- 
posed, he  said,  that  he  didn't.  At  school  he  had 
been  an  anxious  httle  boy,  always  worrying  about 
things.  But  as  soon  as  he  began  to  fly  he  found 
that  he  stopped  worrying  or  being  anxious  about 
anything.  It  was  difficult  to  believe  that  Jeff 
had  ever  been  anxious  or  worried  ;  but  I  thought 
that  I  understood  how  it  might  have  seemed  so 


to  him.  His  capacity  for  a  burning  intensity  of 
purpose  had  been  there  in  his  school-days  and 
had  worried  him  by  its  search  for  an  outlet. 

"  There  is  a  photograph  of  him  as  a  little  boy 
with  a  cricket  bat  that  has  caught  perfectly  his 
habitual  expression,  and  in  so  open  a  countenance 
expression  and  character  are  one.  The  boy 
looks  at  you  and  seems  to  say  '  what  a  ripping 
business  it  is,  you  and  everybody  and  everything,' 
and  yet  there  is  an  air  about  him — one  must  not 
call  it  haughty,  perhaps  one  may  call  it  aloof — 
that  says  too,  '  and  now  I  hope  you  will  get  out 
of  my  way  and  let  me  get  on  with  the  most  ripping 
business  of  all,  the  business  of  being  Jeff.'  Coupled 
with  self-regarding  impulses  such  aloofness  and 
concentration  make  the  great  successes  of  the 
common  world  ;  coupled  as  they  were  in  him 
with  impulses  that  are  self-devoting  they  make 
the  hero  or  the  saint.  The  air  blew  from  his 
mind  all  the  dusts  of  doubt  and  fanned  the  hero 
in  him  into  flames. 

"  A  few  weeks  later  I  had  to  take  a  railway 
truck  down  to  Dunkirk  to  mount  a  new  gun,  and 
he  came  to  see  me  in  my  van  among  the  docks. 
His  reputation  was  now  high  in  his  Wing,  he  had 
been  made  a  Flight-Commander,  and  he  had 
conspicuous  victories  to  his  credit.^     At  last  his 

^  "  On  January  25th  he  attacked  single-handed  six  enemy 
triplanes,  one  of  which  he  shot  down;  on  February  2nd  he 
attacked  and  destroyed  an  enemy  two-seater  machine  on 


work  was  the  highest  to  be  had  and  gave  him  full 
scope  for  his  capacities,  so  at  last  he  was  perfectly 
content.  Fighting  in  the  air,  I  heard,  was  the 
best  thing  in  the  world,  and  he  talked  of  it  so 
vividly  that  I  could  beheve  myself  up  there  with 
him,  wheeling  and  striking  Uke  a  hawk  at  a  heron. 
But  his  best  pleasure^  fine  craftsman  that  he  was, 
was  not  in  the  mere  animal  exhilaration  of  the 
fights,  it  was  in  the  art  and  craft  of  them.  He 
dwelt  most  upon  how  good  it  was  to  have  to  think 
in  a  flash  about  all  the  different  things  that  there 
were  to  do  and  to  invent  in  mid-flight  new 
measures  for  new  crises.  That  was  I  suppose 
the  hall-mark  of  his  genius  as  an  airman  ;  that 
at  the  tremendous  moments  he  was  even  more  in 
possession  of  himself  than  usual. 

"  We  met  once  and  twice  again,  and  then  in 
February  I  was  recalled  from  France,  and  he  came 
to  see  me  and  to  say  good-bye.  As  I  hstened  to 
the  high  confidence  with  which  he  spoke  now  of 
his  service  I  thought — he  is  like  a  prince  that  has 
come  into  his  kingdom.  It  is  so  natural  that  we 
who  love  him  should  fear  for  him  and  long  that 
his  danger  might  be  less,  but  knowing  that  his 
high  nature  is  attaining  here  to  perfect  achieve- 
ment we  wrong  him  by  our  fears  and  behttle  our 

reconnaissance  at  18,000  feet.  He  destroyed  several  enemy 
machines  in  a  short  space  of  time,  and  in  addition  had  numer- 
ous indecisive  engagements."  London  Gazette,  March  i6th, 
1918  (award  of  d.s.c). 


own  love.  The  Jeff  that  we  value  so  much  has 
his  being  in  the  exercise  of  courage  and  devotion. 
To  wish  that  he  might  have  less  opportunity 
for  their  exercise  is  to  wish  that  he  might  be  less 
Jeff.  If  he  was  to  rise  to  this  height  things  could 
not  have  been  otherwise,  and  we  must  be  content, 
as  he  is. 

"  I  wondered  then  what  motive  or  principle 
was  the  basis  of  his  content  in  his  devoted  service. 
He  used  to  talk  little  about  abstract  ideas ;  his 
sense  of  beauty  was  satisfied  as  yet  with  the 
beauty  of  material  things,  the  sights  and  sounds 
of  nature  and  the  happy  states  of  mind  that  they 
induce.  It  was  sure  however  that  a  mind  so 
alert  and  fine  had  some  strong  relation  with  the 
ideas  of  patriotism  and  self-sacrifice,  although  un- 
expressed perhaps  even  to  itself.  So,  although 
I  knew  that  I  was  going  to  bore  him  I  turned  our 
conversation  thither.  He  drifted  away  into 
silence  and  we  arrived  at  the  gulf  of  a  yawn. 
But  then  his  attention  suddenly  returned  and  he 
said,  '  that's  quite  all  right.  One  feels  as  they 
did  when  there  were  dragons  to  fight.'  I  too  felt 
then  that  it  was  quite  all  right,  and  that  his  con- 
fession of  faith  was  better  than  much  elaborate 
reasoning  and  self-analysis. 

"  When  he  must  go  we  walked  together  down 
the  trench  to  the  comer  at  which  his  car  was 
waiting.     It  was  dark,  but  the  flashing  of  the 


guns  was  bright  enough  to  give  me  for  remembrance 
a  last  picture  of  his  noble  head.  '  Good  night, 
good  luck  !  '  he  said,  and  '  good  night,  dragon- 
slayer  !  '   said  I,  and  he  whirled  away." 

a  •  •  •  • 

His  service,  done  in  the  spirit  in  which  he  did 
it,  requires  more  valour  and  endurance  than 
have  ever  been  required  of  man  before.  He  met 
the  new  call  and  did  more  than  meet  it :  he 
thrust  ahead  and  with  his  poet's  fire  Ut  a  new 
beacon  on  the  path  of  duty.  The  memory  of 
him  and  of  his  fellow-knights  will  be  the  treasure 
of  all  EngHsh  hearts  in  after  time.  We  bear  it 
in  trust  for  them. 

E.  H.  Y. 





When  I  am  wearied  through  and  through 
and  all  the  things  I  have  to  do 
are  senseless,  peevish,  little  things, 
my  mind  escapes  on  happier  wings 
to  an  old  house,  that  is  mine  own, 
lichen-kissed  and  overgrown  ; 
with  gables  here  and  gables  there 
and  tapered  chimneys  everywhere, 
with  millstone  hearths  for  burning  logs, 
and  kettles  singing  from  the  dogs, 
with  faintest  taint  of  willow  smoke, 
and  rough-hewn  beams  of  darkened  oak, 
with  unexpected  steps  and  nooks, 
and  cases  full  of  leather  books — 
soft  water  colours,  that  I  love, 
and  in  the  bedrooms  up  above 
large  four-post  beds  and  lots  of  air, 
where  I  may  He  without  a  care 
and  hear  the  rustle  of  the  leaves 
and  starlings  fighting  in  the  eaves. 

Around  the  house  a  garden  lies, 
a  many-coloured  paradise, 
Vv^ith  sunlit  lawns  and  stately  trees 
that  murmur  in  the  summer  breeze, 
with  beds  of  flowers,  not  too  tame, 
all  bright,  and  never  two  the  same, 


and  wicker  chairs  in  shady  places 

to  shelter  folk  with  honest  faces  : 

and,  if  the  Lord  is  very  good 

and  all  things  happen  as  they  should, 

there  is  a  river  slipping  by 

clear  as  the  depthless  summer  sky, 

cool  to  the  touch,  and  very  deep, 

quietly  smiling  in  its  sleep, 

where  large,  well-educated  trout 

scull  themselves  lazily  round  about : 

and  here,  in  a  secluded  spot, 

an  ancient  punt  for  when  it's  hot, 

where  I  can  lie  and  read  a  book  ; 

and  a  canoe  to  mount  the  brook 

which  babbles  on  with  cheerful  noise, 

chattering  low  its  little  joys, 

teUing  how,  through  Newton's  wood, 

it  stole,  sedate  and  very  good, 

but  when  it  tumbled  through  the  mill 

it  thumped  the  old  wheel  with  a  will ; 

how  the  pike  of  Sandy  Ridge 

caught  the  old  chub  below  the  bridge ; 

and  so  on,  if  I  choose  to  listen, 

until  the  evening  dewdrops  glisten. 

Thus  the  river  slowly  glides, 

with  soft  green  meadows  at  the  sides 

and  graceful  trees,  that  form  a  screen 

of  greeny  brown  and  browny  green. 


Down  the  stream  a  mile  or  two 

the  fenlands  come,  where  trees  are  few, 

a  country  very  deeply  blessed 

because  its  sunsets  are  the  best. 

There  sturdy,  sad-eyed  fenmen  toil, 

tilling  the  heavy,  rich-brown  soil ; 

a  land  where  the  grey  heron  breeds, 

and  wild  fowl  paddle  in  the  reeds  ; 

a  land  of  molten,  golden  reds, 

of  ripening  corn,  and  osier  beds. 

And  up  the  stream  comes  rolling  ground, 

with  little  hills,  smooth-topped  and  round, 

and  shady  woods  and  pasture  lands  ; 

and  far  away  a  mountain  stands — 

faint  silhouette  of  hazy  blue 

adding  enchantment  to  the  view, 

and  pleasant  sense  of  mystery 

of  what  the  other  side  may  be  : 

and  on  these  grass  lands,  in  the  breeze, 

I  ride  wherever  I  may  please, 

and  in  these  woods,  where're  I  go, 

there  is  no  man  to  say  me  no, 

My  companions  here  are  few, 
some  horses  and  a  dog  or  two, 
cocker  spaniels,  silver  grey, 
with  tails  a  wagging  all  the  day  : 
and  all  these  servants  old  and  tried 
are  brimming  up  with  quiet  pride, 


with  lots  to  say,  and  all  content, 
each  on  the  other's  business  bent. 
A  lady  too,  divinely  fair, 
with  dark  blue  eyes  and  blue  black  hair, 
who  may  be  gentle  and  forgiving, 
but  who  must  know  the  joy  of  Uving  : 
shall  brightly  smile  and  blithely  sing 
and  laugh  with  me  at  everything, 
and  love  the  things  that  I  love  best, 
the  woods,  the  stream,  and  all  the  rest. 
She,  through  the  languid  summer  days, 
shall  roam  with  me  down  shaded  ways, 
and  drift  with  me,  as  in  a  dream, 
peacefully  down  the  tranquil  stream, 
and  share  with  me  the  sweet  delights 
of  moonlit  brooks  on  summer  nights, 
and  through  the  howling  winter  days 
shall  be  content  to  sit  and  gaze, 
embedded  in  an  easy  chair, 
watching  the  firewood  spark  and  flare. 

And  other  things  I'll  have  are  these, 
large  breakfasts  and  enormous  teas, 
honey  and  homemade  bread,  still  hot, 
and  butter  from  an  earthen  pot, 
with  new  laid  eggs  and  clotted  cream. 
Oh  Lord  !— to  think  it's  all  a  dream  !  ^ 

1  Note  A,  p.  63. 


At  first,  when  unaccustomed  to  death's  sting, 
I  thought  that,  should  you  die,  each  sweetest  thing, 
each  thing  of  any  merit  on  this  earth, 
would  perish  also,  beauty,  love,  and  mirth  : 
and  that  the  world,  despoiled  and  God-forsaken, 
its  glories  gone,  its  greater  treasures  taken, 
would  sink  into  a  slough  of  apathy 
and  there  remain  into  eternity, 
a  mournful-minded,  soul-destroying  place 
wherein  there  would  be  seen  no  smiling  face, 
where  all  desire  to  love  and  Uve  would  cease, 
and  death  would  be  the  only  way  to  peace. 
And  when  one  day  the  aching  blow  did  fall 
for  many  days  I  did  not  live  at  all, 
but,  dazed  and  halting,  made  my  endless  way 
painfully  through  a  tangled  growth  of  grey 
and  chnging  thorns,  dismal,  towards  belief, 
and  uncontrollable,  heart-racking  grief. 
It  could  not  be  ! — that  one  so  fair  and  strong, 
so  honest-minded,  and  so  void  of  wrong, 
that  one  who  made  such  splendid  use  of  life, 
whose  smile  could  soothe  the  bitterness  of  strife 
and  make  a  cold,  hard  nature  warm  and  soft 
(who  used  to  smile  so  frankly  and  so  oft) 
should    die,    and   leave    our    spirits    numb    and 

grief-stifled,  and  yet  empty,  sick,  and  breaking. 

c  33 

I  prayed  that  God  might  give  me  power  to  sever 

your  sad  remembrance  from  my  mind  forever. 

"  Never  again  shall  I  have  heart  to  do 

the  things  in  which  we  took  delight,  we  two. 

I  cannot  bear  the  cross.     Oh,  to  forget 

the  haunting  vision  of  the  past  !  "  :  and  yet 

surely  it  were  a  far  more  noble  thing 

to  keep  your  memories  all  fresh  as  spring, 

to  do  again  the  things  that  we  held  dear 

and  thus  to  feel  your  spirit  ever  near. 

This  I  will  do  when  peace  shall  come  again — ■ 
peace  and  return,  to  ease  my  heart  of  pain. 
Crouched  in  the  brittle  reed-beds  wrapped  in  grey 
I'll  watch  the  dawning  of  the  winter's  day, 
the  peaceful,  chnging  darkness  of  the  night 
that  mingles  with  the  mystic  morning  light, 
and  graceful  rushes,  melting  in  the  haze, 
while  all  around  in  winding  water  ways 
the  wild  fowl  gabble  cheerfully  and  low 
or  wheel  with  pulsing  whistle  to  and  fro, 
filling  the  silent  dawn  with  sweetest  song, 
swelling  and  dying  as  they  sweep  along, 
till  shadows  of  vague  trees  deceive  the  eyes 
and  stealthily  the  sun  begins  to  rise, 
striving  to  smear  with  pink  the  frosted  sky 
and  pierce  the  silver  mist's  opacity ; 
until  the  hazy  silhouettes  grow  clear 
and  faintest  hints  of  colouring  appear, 


and  the  slow,  throbbing,  red,  distorted  sun 
reaches  the  sky,  and  all  the  large  mists  run, 
leaving  the  httle  ones  to  wreathe  and  shiver, 
pathetic,  chnging  to  the  friendly  river  ; 
until  the  watchful  heron,  grim  and  gaunt, 
shows,  ghosthke,  standing  at  his  favourite  haunt, 
and  jerkily  the  moorhens  venture  out, 
spreading  swift,  circled  ripples  round  about ; 
and  softly  to  the  ear,  and  leisurely 
querulous,  comes  the  plaintive  plover's  cry. 
And  then,  maybe,  some  whispering  near  by, 
some  still,  small,  sound  as  of  a  happy  sigh 
shall  steal  upon  my  senses,  soft  as  air, 
and,  brother  !    I  shall  know  that  thou  are  there. 

Then,  with  my  gun  forgotten  in  my  hand, 
I'll  v/ander  through  the  snow-encrusted  land, 
following  the  tracks  of  hare  and  stoat,  and  traces 
of  bird  and  beast,  as  delicate  as  laces, 
doing  again  the  things  that  we  held  dear, 
keeping  thy  gracious  spirit  ever  near, 
comforted  by  the  bhssful  certainty 
and  sweetness  of  thy  splendid  company. 
And  in  the  lazy  summer  nights  I'll  ghde 
silently  down  the  sleepy  river's  tide, 
listening  to  the  music  of  the  stream, 
the  plop  of  ponderously  playful  bream, 
the  water  whispering  around  the  boat, 
and  from  afar  the  white  owl's  hquid  note 


that  lingers  through  the  stillness,  soft  and  slow  ; 
watching  the  little  yacht's  red  homely  glow, 
her  vague  reflection,  and  her  clean  cut  spars 
ink-black  against  the  stillness  of  the  stars, 
stealthily  slipping  into  nothingness, 
while  on  the  river's  moon-splashed  surfaces 
tall  shadows  sweep.     Then,  when  I  go  to  rest, 
it  may  be  that  my  slumbers  will  be  blest 
by  the  faint  sound  of  thy  untroubled  breath, 
proving  thy  presence  near,  in  spite  of  death. 



Very  clear  and  very  still 

are  the  waters  of  the  mill, 

starting  first  from  yonder  hill, 

making  straightway  for  the  mill, 

dewy  fresh  and  sweetly  chill 

running  ever,  late  and  early. 

First  a  trickle,  then  a  rill, 

dropping  down  towards  the  mill, 

growing  quickly,  singing  shrill — 

such  a  busy  hurly-burly  ! 

what  a  bustle  !  what  a  thrill ! 

trying  hard  to  reach  the  mill, 

how  the  little  voices  trill — 

"  why's  the  silly  course  so  curly  ?  " 

running,  leaping  with  a  will, 

hurrying  to  work  the  mill, 

racing  noisily,  until 

down  the  chute,  all  swift  and  swirly, 

with  an  eager  splash,  they  spill 

on  the  old  wheel  of  the  mill, 

throwing  wide  a  creamy  frill 

of  dancing  foam  and  bubbles  pearly, 

sliding  onward  smoothly  down  the  sill. 



A  SUDDEN  roar,  a  mighty  rushing  sound, 

a  jolt  or  two,  a  smoothly  sUding  rise, 
a  jumbled  blur  of  disappearing  ground, 
and  then  all  sense  of  motion  slowly  dies. 
Quiet  and  calm,  the  earth  slips  past  below, 
as  underneath  a  bridge  still  waters  flow. 

My  turning  wing  inclines  towards  the  ground  ; 
the  ground  itself  glides  up  with  graceful  swing 
and  at  the  plane's  far  tip  twirls  slowly  round, 
then  drops  from  sight  again  beneath  the  wing 
to  sUp  away  serenely  as  before, 
a  cubist-patterned  carpet  on  the  floor. 

Hills  gently  sink  and  valleys  gently  fill. 

The  flattened  fields  grow  infinitely  small ; 
slowly  they  pass  beneath  and  slower  still 
until  they  hardly  seem  to  move  at  aU. 
Then  suddenly  they  disappear  from  sight, 
hidden  by  fleeting  wisps  of  faded  white. 

The  wing-tips,  faint  and  dripping,  dimly  show, 

blurred  by  the  wreaths  of  mist  that  intervene. 
Weird,  half-seen  shadows  flicker  to  and  fro 
across  the  pallid  fog-bank's  blinding  screen. 
At  last  the  choking  mists  release  their  hold, 
and  all  the  world  is  silver,  blue,  and  gold. 


The  air  is  clear,  more  clear  than  sparkling  wine ; 

compared  with  this,  wine  is  a  turgid  brew. 
The  far  horizon  makes  a  clean-cut  Hne 
between  the  silver  and  the  depthless  blue. 
Out  of  the  snow-white  level  reared  on  high 
gUttering  hills  surge  up  to  meet  the  sky. 

Outside  the  wind  screen's  shelter  gales  may  race  : 

but  in  the  seat  a  cool  and  gentle  breeze 
blows  steadily  upon  my  grateful  face 
as  I  sit  motionless  and  at  my  ease, 
contented  just  to  loiter  in  the  sun 
and  gaze  around  me  till  the  day  is  done. 

And  so  I  sit,  half  sleeping,  half  awake, 

dreaming  a  happy  dream  of  golden  days, 
until  at  last,  with  a  reluctant  shake, 

I  rouse  myself,  and  with  a  lingering  gaze 
at  all  the  splendour  of  the  shining  plain 
make  ready  to  come  down  to  earth  again. 

The  engine  stops  :   a  pleasant  silence  reigns — 

silence,  not  broken,  but  intensified 
by  the  soft,  sleepy  wires'  insistent  strains, 
that  rise  and  fall,  as  with  a  sweeping  glide 
I  slither  down  the  well-oiled  sides  of  space 
towards  a  lower,  less  enchanted  place. 


The  clouds  draw  nearer,  changing  as  they  come. 

Now,  hke  a  flash,  fog  grips  me  by  the  throat. 
Down  goes  the  nose  :  at  once  the  wires'  low  hum 
begins  to  rise  in  volume  and  in  note, 
till  as  I  hurtle  from  the  choking  cloud 
it  swells  into  a  scream,  high-pitched  and  loud. 

The  scattered  hues  and  shades  of  green  and  brown 

fashion  themselves  into  the  land  I  know, 
turning  and  twisting,  as  I  spiral  down 

towards  the  landing-ground  ;  till,  skimming  low, 
I   gUde   with    slackening    speed   across   the 

and  come  to  rest  with  lightly  grating  sound. ^ 

1  Note  B,  p.  65. 



Dawn  on  the  drab  North  Sea  ! — 
colourless,  cold,  and  depressing, 
with  the  sun  that  we  long  to  see 
refraining  from  his  blessing. 
To  the  westward — sombre  as  doom  : 
to  the  eastward — grey  and  foreboding : 
Comes  a  low,  vibrating  boom — 
the  sound  of  a  mine  exploding. 

Day  on  the  drear  North  Sea  ! — 

wearisome,  drab,  and  relentless. 

The  low  clouds  swiftly  flee  ; 

bitter  the  sky,  and  relentless. 

Nothing  at  all  in  sight 

save  the  mast  of  a  sunken  trawler, 

fighting  her  long,  last  fight 

with  the  waves  that  mouth  and  maul  her. 

Gale  on  the  bleak  North  Sea  ! — 

howHng  a  dirge  in  the  rigging. 

Slowly  and  toilfully 

through  the  great,  grey  breakers  digging, 

thus  we  make  our  way, 

hungry,  wet,  and  weary, 

soaked  with  the  sleet  and  spray, 

desolate,  damp,  and  dreary. 


Fog  in  the  dank  North  Sea  ! — 
silent  and  clammily  dripping. 
Slowly  and  mournfully, 
ghostlike,  goes  the  shipping. 
Sudden  across  the  swell 
come  the  fog-horns  hoarsely  blaring 
or  the  clang  of  a  warning  bell, 
to  leave  us  vainly  staring. 

Night  on  the  black  North  Sea  !— 

black  as  hell's  darkest  hollow. 

Peering  anxiously, 

we  search  for  the  ships  that  follow. 

One  are  the  sea  and  sky, 

dim  are  the  figures  near  us, 

with  only  the  sea-bird's  cry 

and  the  swish  of  the  waves  to  cheer  us. 

Death  on  the  wild  North  Sea  ! — 
death  from  the  shell  that  shatters 
(death  we  will  face  with  glee, 
'tis  the  weary  wait  that  matters)  :— 
death  from  the  guns  that  roar, 
and  the  splinters  weirdly  shrieking. 
'Tis  a  fight  to  the  death  ;   'tis  war  ; 
and  the  North  Sea  is  redly  reeking  ! 



Far  from  the  hatefully  restless,  grey, 

drearily  sighing  sea, 
through  God's  good  fields  I  made  my  way, 

wandering  lazily, 
round-eyed,  drinking  in  the  scene — 
water  meadows  fresh  and  clean, 
trees  and  hedges  strangely  green, 

dreaming  peacefully. 

Slowly  the  longed-for  woods  drew  near, 

breathing  the  breath  of  spring, 
with  scents  to  smell  and  sounds  to  hear 

and  green  rides  opening  ; 
until  I  saw  my  long-grassed  glade, 
cool  and  damp  in  the  fragrant  shade, 
where  the  little  rabbits  peep  and  fade 
with  white  tails  flickering. 

Where  primroses  and  bluebells  grow, 

clustering  ankle  deep  ; 
where  moss-grown  tree  trunks  vaguely  show 

and  stealthy  shadows  creep  ; 
there  I  lay,  my  thoughts  reposing, 
heavy  eyeUds  slowly  closing, 
gently  dozing,  gently  dozing, 

till  I  fell  asleep ; 


lulled  by  the  nightingale's  pure  tone 

and  the  perfect  song  he  sings  ; 
lulled  by  the  never  ending  drone 

of  countless  insect  wings  ; 
lulled  by  the  sentimental  dove 
ardently  telhng  of  his  love, 
by  the  song  of  the  lark  from  the  sky  above, 

and  the  new  leaves'  murmurings. 

While  I  lay  and  slumbered  there, 

as  oft  I  had  done  before, 
breathing  deep  the  scented  air 

full  of  the  wood's  sweet  lore, 
so  soft  and  peaceful  was  the  sound, 
so  pure  was  everything  around, 
so  cool  and  fresh  the  friendly  ground, 

that  I  dreamed  there  was  no  war. 





Have  you  ever  sat  in  crystal  space,  enjoying  the 
of  an  eagle  hovered  high  above  the  earth, 
gazing  down  on  man's  ridiculous  and  infantile 
and  judging  them  according  to  their  worth  ? 
Have  you  looked  upon  a  basin  small  enough  to 
wash  your  face  in, 
with  a  few  toys-ships  collected  by  the  shore, 
and  then  realised  with  wonder  that  if  those  toys 
go  under 
nine  tenths  of  Britain's  navy  is  no  more  ? 

Have  you  seen  a  khaki  maggot  crawhng  down  a 
thread  of  cotton — 
the  route  march  of  a  regiment  or  so  ? 
Have  you  seen  the  narrow  riband,  unimportant, 
that  tells  you  that  the  Thames  is  far  below  ? 
Have  you  glanced  with  smiling  pity  at  the  world's 
most  famous  city, 
a  large  grey  smudge  that  barely  strikes  the  eye  ? 
Would  you  like  to  see  things  truly  and  appreciate 
them  duly  ? 
Well  then  do  it,  damn  you,  do  it ;  learn  to  fly ! 


Have  you  left  the  ground  in  murkiness,  all  clammy, 
grey,  and  soaking, 
and    struggled    through    the    dripping,    dirty 
white  ? 
Have  you  seen  the  blank  sides  closing  in  and  felt 
that  you  were  choking, 
and  then  leapt  into  a  land  of  blazing  light 
where  the  burnished  sun  is  shining  on  the  clouds' 
bright,  silver  lining, 
a  land  where  none  but  fairy  feet  have  trod, 
where  the  splendour  nearly  bhnds  you  and  the 
wonder  of  it  binds  you, 
and  you  know  you  are  in  heaven,  close  to  God  ? 

Have  you  tumbled  from  the  sky  until  your  wires 
were  shrilly  screaming, 
and    watched    the    earth    go    spinning    round 
about  ? 
Have  you  felt  the  hard  air  beat  your  face  until 
your  eyes  were  streaming  ? 
Have  you  turned  the  solar  system  inside  out  ? 
Have  you  seen  earth  rush  to  meet  you  and  the 
fields  spread  out  to  greet  you, 
and  flung  them  back  to  have  another  try  ? 
Would  it  fill  you  with  elation  to  be  boss  of  all 
creation  ? 
Well  then  do  it,  damn  you,  do  it ;  learn  to  fly  ! 


Have  you  fought  a  dummy  battle,  diving,  twisting, 
at   a   lightning   speed   that   takes  away   your 
breath  ? 
Have  you  been  so  wildl}'^  thrilled  that  you  have 
found  yourself  forgetting 
that  it's  practice,  not  a  battle  to  the  death  ? 
Have  you  hurtled  low  through  narrow,  tree-girt 
spaces  like  an  arrow — 
seen  things  grow  and  disappear  like  pricked 
balloons  ? 
Would  you  feel  the  breathless  joys  of  it  and  hear 
the  thrilling  noise  of  it, 
the  swish,  the  roar,  the  ever-changing  tunes  ? 

Have  you  chased  a  golden  sunbeam  down  a  gold 
and  silver  alley, 
with  pink  and  orange  jewels  on  the  floor  ? 
Have  you  raced  a  baby  rainbow  round  a  blue  and 
silver  valley, 
where  purple  caves  throw  back  the  engine's 
roar  ? 
Have  you  seen  the  lights  that  smoulder  on  a 
cloud's  resplendent  shoulder 
standing  out  before  a  saffron-coloured  sky  ? 
Would  you  be  in  splendid  places  and  illimitable 
spaces  ? 
Well  then  do  it,  damn  you,  do  it ;  learn  to  fly  ! 

D  49 


To  mope  around 

on  the  dull  hard  ground 

very  many  weeks  together 

in  the  vilest  weather 

is  a  sad  delay 

for  a  pilot  gay, 

who  is  very  nearly  dying 

for  some  complicated  flying, 

for  the  whizz  !   bang  !   crash  ! 

and  the  hurricane's  lash 

and  the  wires  that  hum  zoom  !    zoom  ! 

When  the  weather  is  bad, 

it's  extremely  sad 

to  recline  at  leisure 

and  to  contemplate  the  pleasure 

of  the  coughing  scream 

of  a  great  sunbeam, 

or  the  rumbling  voice 

of  a  good  Rolls  Royce, 

or  the  buzzing  drone 

of  a  nice  Le  Rhone — 

the  extreme  exhilaration 

of  a  little  aviation, 

and  the  grip  and  tear 

of  the  ice-cold  air 

and  the  wires  that  hum  zoom  !    zoom  ! 



"  Machines  will  raid  at  dawn,"  they  say. 
It's  always  dawn,  or  just  before  ; 
why  choose  this  wretched  time  of  day 
for  making  war  ? 

From  all  the  hours  of  light  there  are, 
why  do  they  always  choose  the  first  ? 
Is  it  because  they  know  it's  far 
and  far  the  worst  ? 

Is  it  a  morbid  sense  of  fun 
that  makes  them  send  us  day  by  day 
a  target  for  the  sportive  Hun  ? — 
who  knows  our  way, 

and  waits  for  us  at  dawn's  first  peep, 
knowing  full  well  we  shall  be  there, 
and  he,  when  that  is  done,  may  sleep 
without  a  care. 

And  was  it  not  Napoleon 

who  said  (in  French)  these  words,  "Loi' 

lumme  ! 
no  man  can  hope  to  fight  upon 
an  empty  tummy  "  ? 


Yet  every  morn  we  bold  bird-boys 
clamber  into  our  little  buses, 
and  go  and  make  a  futile  noise 
with  bombs  and  cusses. 

And  every  night  the  orders  tell 
the  same  monotonous  old  story 
"  machines  will  raid  at  dawn."    To  hell 
with  death  or  glory  ! 

Why  can't  they  let  us  lie  in  bed 
and,  after  breakfast  and  a  wash, 
despatch  us,  clean  and  fully  fed, 
to  kill  the  Boche  ? 

I  hate  the  dawn,  as  dogs  hate  soap  : 
and  on  my  heart,  when  I  am  done, 
you'll  find  the  words  engraved,  "  Dawn  hope- 
less, streak  of,  one." 



Whether  it  be  by  dives  and  swoops  or  a  spin  or 

a  graceful  glide, 
whether  it  be  by  a  series  of  loops  or  one  long 

breathless  slide, 
as  long  as  you  know  where  you're  trying  to  go 
and  go  more  or  less  where  you're  trying, 
if  you  want  to  come  down,  and  you  are  coming 

coming  down  is  the  best  part  of  flying. 

But  whether  it  be  a  broken  tail  or  a  spar  that 

carries  away, 
or  whether  it  be  your  nerves  that  fail  or  a  hidden 

flaw  in  a  stay, 
when  you're  thoroughly  in  a  wing-tip  spin 
and,  no  matter  how  hard  you're  trying, 
you're  still  coming  down  and  coming  down, 
then  it's  far  the  most  damned  part  of  flying. 

And  when  you  have  been  from  dawn's  first  streak 

in  search  of  a  submarine, 
and  you're  hungry  and  bored  and  sick  and  weak 

and  there's  never  a  thing  to  be  seen, 
till  at  last  below  the  hangars  show, 
your  wearied  eyes  consohng, 
and  you  start  to  come  down,  then  coming  down 
is  far  the  best  part  of  patrolling. 


But  when  there  is  nothing  at  all  in  sight  and 

you're  many  a  mile  from  home, 
and   the   rising   sea  is    showing  white    and   the 

breakers  hiss  and  foam, 
and  your  engines  stop  and  you've  got  to  drop 
where  the  great  grey  waves  are  rolling, 
and  you've  got  to  come  down,  then  coming  down 
is  the  perfectest  hell  of  patrolling. 

And  when  you've  done  a  three-hours'  flight  in  the 

shell-infested  skies, 
numbed  with  the  cold  of  the  awful  height  and  the 

fear  that  petrifies, 
when  you  know  at  last  that  the  Unes  are  past 
and  the  phantom  of  death  is  fading, 
how  you  love  coming  down,  and  fall  three  miles 

down  ! — 
it  is  much  the  best  part  of  raiding. 

But  if  you  are  over  hostile  lands  and  you  hear  the 

shrapnel's  dunt, 
and  you  feel  your  controls  go  slack  in  your  hands, 

or  your  engine  stops  with  a  grunt, 
and  you  fear  you  are  done  and  the  Boche  has  won, 
and  your  hopes  of  return  are  fading, 
how  you  hate  coming  down  !    but  you've  got  to 

come  down, 
and  that  is  the  devil  of  raiding. 



There  is  no  pleasure  a  man  may  have  on  earth 

which  can  compare 
in  any  way  with  a  similar  pleasure  that  he  may 

have  in  the  air, 
wheresoever  and  whatsoever  his  dreams  of  bliss 

may  be, 
he  would  enjoy  them  more  by  air  than  he  would 

by  land  or  sea. 
The  thrill  of  a  race  or  a  breathless  chase  or  the 

motion  of  galloping  horses, 
the  sight  of  the  ground  as  it  streaks  below  and  the 

dangers  of  hard  ridden  courses, 
the  feel  of  the  clean  cold  air  in  his  lungs  and  the 

slap  of  the  air  in  his  face, 
the  rhythm,  the  swing,  the  rip  and  the  spring, 

and  the  dash  of  the  wonderful  pace, 
such  are  joys  that  are  hard  to  beat,  such  are 

pleasures  indeed, 
but  in  the  air  they  are  thrice  as  good,  for  they 

happen  at  thrice  the  speed. 
The  tense   excitement,   the   savage  hunts    that 

big  game  shots  adore, 
the  heavy  silence  shattered  at  last  by  the  sudden 

grating  roar, 
the  rustle  of  leaves  and  the  stabbing  light  that 

splinters  the  solid  black, 
the  lightning  charge  when  death  looms  large,  and 

the  rifle's  vengeful  crack, 


the  howl  of  the  wolf  pack,  hunger-mad  in  the 

hush  of  the  starlit  night — 
these  are  as  nothing  compared  with  the  thrills 

and  the  grip  of  aerial  light, 
with  the  roar  of  the  engine,  the  tang  of  the  wires, 

the  Vickers'  stuttering  rattle, 
the  shrieking  and  whooping,  the  mounting    and 

swooping  of  rapidly  flickering  battle, 
the  swift-flung  curves  and  the  shuddering  swerves, 

the  turning,  the  twisting,  the  spinning, 
it  is  triumph  and  terror  and  frenzied  dehght  to 

the  end  from  the  very  beginning. 
The  joys  of  saihng  in  unknown  waters  and  island- 
studded  seas, 
the  feel  of  the  boat  as  she  forges  along  and  heels 

to  the  touch  of  the  breeze, 
the  sound  of  the  ripples  that  gurgle  and  bubble, 

like  fairy  bells  artfully  tinkled, 
the  smell  of  the  air  and  the  touch  on  the  face  of 

the  glittering  spray,  God-sprinkled, 
the  glory  of  snaking  a  frail  canoe  through  a  gap 

in  the  foam -swept  crags 
where  the  waters  curl  and  eddy  and  swirl  around 

the  hidden  snags. 
the  flurry  and  froth  and  the  eager  grip  where  the 

mighty  tide  is  sweeping, 
the  paddle's  whip  at  the  well-timed  stroke  that 

sets  the  bireh-bark  leaping, 
the  pleasures  of  driftmg  on  wooded  lakes,  shim- 
mering, silent,  and  still, 


with  the  blue  of  the  sky  and  the  pines  near  by 

and  the  blue  of  the  distant  hill, 
the  cast  and  the  quivering  tenseness  of  muscle, 

the  sudden  fulfilment  of  wish, 
the  tug  and  the  rapid  bewildering  tussle,  the  run 

of  the  well-hooked  fish, 
the  leaps  and  the  dives  as  he  struggles  and  strives, 

the  sickening  dread  and  the  rapture, 
the  slow,  imperceptible  gaining  of  hope  and  the 

ultimate  glory  of  capture, 
the  victor's  return  through  the  silent  wood  with 

happiness  rooted  throughout  him, 
the  sense  of  the  glorious  fitness  of  wonder  in  all 

that  he  sees  about  him, 
these  are  splendid  things  to  do,  things  for  a  man  to 

but  not  so  good  as  the  splendid  things  that  a 

man  may  do  up  above. 
The  glory  of  gamboUing  high  in  the  heavens  in 

scenery  weirdly  entrancing, 
abandoned  and  wholly  free  from  restraint  in  the 

manner  of  primitive  dancing, 
the  pleasure  of  being  the  absolute  master  of  every 

turn  and  twist, 
the  feel  of  the  craft  as  she  spins  about  to  every 

move  of  the  wrist, 
the  satisfaction  of  doing  each  fling  smooth  and 

sure  right  through, 
of  knowing  that  every  motion  done  is  crisp  and 

clean  and  true, 


the    joy   of    exploring    fresh-found    clouds,    and 

hurtling  down  from  the  summit 
in  a  swerving  slide  down  the  glacier  side  with  the 

speed  of  a  falUng  plummet, 
the  power  of  taking  the  sky  and  the  earth  and 

making  them  do  what  he  pleases, 
the  sight  of  places  unblemished  by  man  and  the 

touch  of  untainted  breezes, 
the  soothing  noise  and  the  graceful  poise  of  soft 

and  smooth  descent, 
the  placid  enjoyment  of  being  alive  and  the  feeling 

of  utter  content, 
these  are  joys  that  none  can  better  on  earth  or 

river  or  sea, 
wheresoever  and  whatsoever  his  dreams  of  bliss 

may  be. 



When  flying  on  a  sunny  day 

(and  very  nice  and  hot  it  was) 

I  sighted  something  on  the  way  ; 

I  knew  directly  what  it  was. 

It  was  a  fairy,  all  complete 

with  wings  and  gauzy  gowns  and  such 

and  satin  shoes  on  tiny  feet 

and  lots  of  jewelled  crowns  and  such. 

As  my  machine  was  fairly  fast 

I  soon  drew  alongside  on  it. 

I  bowed  politely  as  I  passed 

and  offered  her  a  ride  on  it. 

She  got  on  board  without  a  hitch 

of  any  sort  or  kind  at  all — 

it  wasn't  a  two-seater,  which 

she  didn't  seem  to  mind  at  all, 

for  down  she  sat  upon  my  knee 

and,  what  was  very  shocking  too, 

she  smiled  bewitchingly  at  me 

and  showed  a  lot  of  stocking  too  ! 

And  as  I  am  a  nervous  youth 

I  simply  sat  and  gazed  at  her 

(I  was  to  tell  the  honest  truth 

unpleasantly  amazed  at  her). 

"  Don't  sit  there  Hke  an  ill-bred  calf, 

staring  and  looking  sickly  too  ! 


Be  smart,"  she  said,  "  and  make  me  laugh 
and  do  it  very  pretty  quickly  too  ! 
A  pretty  sort  of  host  you  make, 
most  courteous  and  dutiful ! 
Admire  my  clothes  for  goodness'  sake 
or  say  you  think  I'm  beautiful." 
"  Your  clothes,"  I  said,  "  are  few  and  thin 
and  not  the  least  bit  suitable 
for  flying  round  the  country  in, 
and  that  is  irrefutable  : 
and  as  for  you,  although  you  do 
look  perfectly  delectable, 
I  know  of  many  people  who 
would  say  you're  not  respectable." 
"  A  lot  I  care  for  them,"  she  cried, 
"and  their  respectability, 
as  long  as  you  are  satisfied 
with  my  delectability. 
To  charm  mankind  by  hook  or  crook 
I  think  all  women  ought  to  dress. 
Now  don't  you  think  that  I  should  look 
far  nicer  in  a  shorter  dress  ?  " 
She  was  a  very  forward  maid, 
but  I  was  getting  warier 
and  so  I  asked  her  what  she  weighed 
in  pounds  per  unit  area  ; 
and  what  her  range  of  speed  might  be, 
and  had  she  much  stabihty, 
and  did  she  turn  quite  easily, 


and  loop  with  much  facihty  ; 

her  chassis,  was  it  made  of  wood, 

and  was  she  nice  and  flyable  ; 

her  engine,  was  it  pretty  good, 

and  was  it  quite  rehable  ; 

and  did  it  run  on  castor  oil, 

or  Castrol  U  unfreezable, 

and  did  she  think  an  aerofoil, 

that  varied,  might  be  feasible. 

At  last  she  interrupted  me, 
"  oh  stop  this  technicality  ! 

I  neither  know  nor  care  a  d ; 

come,  show  your  hospitahty  ! 
And,  if  you  won't,  at  least  you  might 
endeavour  to  be  sensible  ; 
your  conduct,  sir  (to  be  poUte), 
is  highly  reprehensible," 
And  so  I  did  as  I  was  told, 
yet  always  flying  higher  up, 
because  I  hoped  the  awful  cold 
might  fairly  quickly  dry  her  up. 
And  soon  her  hands  grew  shivery, 
her  teeth  all  started  chattering, 
her  lips  grew  blue  and  quivery, 
but  still  she  went  on  chattering 
and  trying  hard  to  make  me  flirt 
(I  couldn't  get  the  trick  of  it). 
I  soon  grew  sick  of  being  pert — 
I  grew  extremely  sick  of  it ; 

till  finally  (I  was  ill  bred) 
1  looped  and  dropped  her  out  of  it. 
It  saved  me  going  off  my  head, 
there  isn't  any  doubt  of  it. 



The  poems  and  rhymes  were  written  during  1916 
and  1917.  The  last  only,  "  To  my  brother,"  was 
written  at  the  beginning  of  1918.  They  were  scribbled 
in  pencil  in  notebooks,  in  cabin  or  shed  or  actually 
in  the  air.  The  writer  was  careless  of  stops,  and 
often  left  alternative  words  or  lines  without  deciding 
between  them. 

A  word  of  explanation  is  necessary  of  the  division 
made  into  "  poems  "  and  "  rhymes."  The  "  poems  " 
are  for  the  most  part  of  later  date  than  the  "  rhymes  " 
and  were  written  with  more  serious  intention.  Pro- 
bably the  writer  would  not  himself  have  cared  to  have 
the  "rhymes"  preserved,  or  even  the  "poems," 
except  one  or  two.  "  An  airman's  dream,"  the  latter 
part  of  "To  my  brother,"  and  "On  the  wings  of 
the  morning  "  were  all  that  he  allowed  to  see  the 
light  during  his  lifetime,  the  first  two  in  The  Spectator, 
the  last  in  The  Cornhill.  But  it  was  thought  well  to 
print  even  the  slighter  rhymes  here,  if  only  to  show 
how,  in  spite  of  false  starts,  poetry  will  out. 

The  Memoir  is  reprinted  from  The  Cornhill  Maga- 
zine for  October  1918. 


The  following  is  scribbled  in  pencil  in  a  notebook  : 
"  I  had  put  in  a  great  deal  of  time  in  thinking  of 
my  perfectly  good  house,  so  all  the  permanent  por- 
tions of  it  had  got  subconsciously  shaken  into  a  com- 
pact form,  and  all  that  I  had  to  do  was  to  read  Rupert 


Brooke's '  Grantchester '  once,  take  a  pencil  and  paper, 
and  write  as  fast  as  I  could  until  further  orders. 

"  From  my  earliest  childhood  I  had  sent  myself 
to  sleep  and  endured  dull  sermons  by  thinking  of  my 
house  and  its  surroundings. 

"  The  house  and  grounds  have  always  been  the 
same,  a  low,  rambling,  many-gabled,  ivy-covered, 
quaint  old  house,  with  the  same  arrangement  of  rivers, 
brooks,  woods,  and  fens  around.  There  have  always 
been  a  great  many  spaniels,  a  fair  number  of  wire- 
haired  terriers,  and  one  or  two  Irish  wolf-hounds, 
great  danes,  and  the  like.  The  stables  have  always 
had  the  same  horses,  which  I  will  not  try  to  describe 
for  fear  of  technical  errors,  though  I  know  them  well 
enough  in  my  mind's  eye.  Always  have  there  been 
the  same  boats,  the  canoes  a  birch-bark  and  a  carvel- 
built  Canadian,  the  same  punt,  the  same  outrigged 
two-seater,  and  the  family  barge,  and  the  same  garden 
has  smiled  and  dreamed  and  droned  through  the 
summer  days,  with  restful,  sheltered  nooks  in  great 
frequency  :  and  always  has  there  been  an  abundance 
of  beautiful  books  and  pictures. 

"  In  other  directions,  however,  there  have  been 
alterations.  The  moat  and  the  drawbridge  that  used 
to  surround  my  house  have  gone.  In  their  time 
they  served  me  well,  and  often  have  they  saved  me 
from  sudden  surprise  attacks,  both  by  red  Indians, 
and  by  the  king's  men,  in  Robin  Hood's  days.  As  the 
years  went  by,  however,  the  drawbridge  began  to 
get  rusty,  and  to  squeak  prodigiously  every  time  I 
wound  it  up,  and  the  moat,  too,  began  to  smell,  either 
because  of  drainage  troubles,  or  from  the  large  number 


of  my  enemies'  bodies  that  had  been  thrown  into  it 
with  a  disdainful  laugh. 

"About  the  same  time,  guns  began  to  appear  in 
the  room  in  which  my  score  of  friendly  Indians,  or 
trusty  archers,  used  to  keep  their  assorted  weapons. 
As  I  began  to  be  able  to  hit  the  target  with  my  first 
rifle,  the  moat,  the  drawbridge,  the  Robin  Hoods, 
Little  Johns,  Redskins,  bows  and  arrows,  tomahawks, 
spears,  and  swords  began  to  disappear,  and  in  their 
stead  I  protected  myself  with  a  high  velocity  -22  rifle, 
fitted  with  a  telescopic  sight  and  silencer,  with  which 
I  used  to  slaughter  all  my  enemies  at  a  range  of  five 
miles  or  more,  to  their  great  discomfiture.  Then,  when 
I  was  promoted  to  a  shot  gun,  I  became  a  country- 
gentleman  with  no  enemies." 

NOTE    B      * 

The  following  is  from  a  rough  draft  of  some  chapters 
of  a  book  about  flying  : 

"  Flying  in  General. — I  had  quite  made  up  my 
mind  when  I  came  down  from  my  first  flight  I  would 
sit  down  forthwith  and  with  very  great  ease  write 
some  most  superior  verses  on  the  thrill  and  grandeur 
of  flying.  Accordingly  I  immediately  proceeded 
to  evolve  magnificent  and  fine  sounding  phrases 
describing  what  I  felt  sure  it  would  be  like,  and  to 
search  diligently  for  suitable  rhymes. 

"  However  when  I  did  come  down,  my  only 
thought  was  to  go  up  again,  and,  as  to  verses,  I 
neither  could  nor  would  have  written  them  for  any- 
thing on  earth. 

E  65 

"  Wouldn't — because  my  fine  phrases  were  all 
wrong,  and,  anyhow,  why  write  verses  when  you 
might  be  flying  ?  and  couldn't — because  I  had  as 
many  impressions  in  my  mind  as  there  are  (I  won't 
say  grains  of  sand  on  the  seashore,  for  I  am  not  such  a 
preposterous  liar  as  all  that)  say,  feathers  in  a  starling 
(a  very  good  way  of  estimating  numbers  too,  for  the 
number  depends  largely  on  the  age  of  the  starling, 
and  whether  he  has  been  plucked  or  not,  though  why 
anyone  should  pluck  a  starling,  I  can't  say,  unless  he 
thought  it  was  the  right  way  to  set  about  stuffing  it, 
and  whoever  thinks  that  is  wrong,  for  I  once  tried 
to  stuff  a  bird  that  way  myself,  and  I  could  make 
nothing  of  it). 

"  However,  as  I  was  saying,  my  mind  was  very 
full  of  half-grasped  impressions,  like  a  small  bag 
packed  tight  with  young  eels,  and  out  of  that 
seething  mass  I  couldn't  have  picked  one  solid, 
sensibly  worded  impression  for  the  life  of  me. 

"  It  was  silly  of  me  to  expect  to  write  directly  after 
my  first  flight,  for  one  doesn't  sit  down  to  write  a 
rhapsody  on  strawberries  and  cream  with  a  belly 
full  of  'em,  but  with  an  empty  belly,  and  a  great 
desire  for  them." 

Printed  by  Hazell,  Watson  &  Viney,  Ld.,  London  and  Aylesbury. 

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